I love the parables of Jesus. They appear to be so simple but as you explore them they take on layers. One of the things I enjoy doing is to view the parables from the viewpoint of everyone involved.
For example, in the parable of the Two Debtors (Luke 7:36-50), there is a man who owes his lender $5,000 and another man who owes $50,000. I took some time to explore times when I owed little and I owed much and how I felt. When I owed little, my high task orientation kicked in and I decided I'm going to "DO IT", I'm going to "GET 'ER DONE". I'll get another job, I'll work nights, I'll freeze spending. I will do whatever I have to do to make it happen. It's all about me and my abilities.
If someone were to offer help with my small debt, I'd say, "No...thanks...I've got it covered." And inwardly I'd be proud of my ability to rise to the occassion and save the day.
But when I have owed thousands I merely cry because there's nothing I can do to solve the problem. I like it when I am in control. I hate it when I'm at the mercy of others. If someone were to offer to wipe out my debt I would be tempted to refuse. It's so humiliating to admit that I can't fix the problem. But if someone were to offer the help I think I'd take it because I could stop living with the weight of the debt and finally start living in freedom.
We understand things so well when it relates to the natural world. That's why Jesus told parables. The trick is to make the appropriate application to the spiritual world.
You see the big mistake we often make with God is to think that our problems are small and WE can handle them. God offers to help and we say "No, got it covered". And in doing so we miss the opportunity to encounter God in a very profound way. We would be wise to ask God to see our sin from his perspective so that we could see how much we truly need his help. Maybe then we would embrace God in a way that we've never done before.
Check out my sermon here. I won't be able to check posts this week but I hope you will post your thoughts and comment on what others write as well.